Our 1st Hanukkah: No we aren’t Jewish

“It’s true…Christians don’t typically celebrate Hanukkah, but our family celebrated our 1st Hanukkah this year, with a twist!”

I spent two years working in a Jewish preschool and I experienced more growth and understanding of Christianity than I had my entire life of going to church (and as a child I was in church at least twice a week).

I received a two year history lesson of the Old Testament; albeit on a preschool level, which was probably best. I spent those years sitting criss-cross applesauce singing songs, gobbling down traditional Jewish foods (Matzo Ball soup is ONE of my favorites), and going to Shabbat each Friday, all while getting a pretty good understanding of the Biblical Feasts, that are often referred to as Jewish holidays.

I now have a better understanding of the biblical holidays and how they pertain to me as a Christian. I find there’s a lot of value in knowing the history of any subject, but with Christianity the value is in-measurable to me.


In the traditional sense Hanukkah (also referred to as the Festival of Lights or Feast of Dedication) commemorates.

  • The victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian-Greek rulers of Jerusalem and the re-dedication of the Temple.
  • It also celebrates that the outnumbered Jews were victorious against the Greek armies.
  • God miraculously made the one day’s worth of oil burn brightly for eight days.


I basically see Hanukkah as a celebration of God’s miracles and a reminder to keep faith in times of adversity no matter what the circumstances may be.


Each evening as we gather around to light our menorah we see the Shamash (the helper candle, the candle used to light the others) as a symbol of Jesus; We remember what Jesus said about being the light.
John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Matthew 5:14-16
New International Version (NIV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Ephesians 5:8
New International Version (NIV)
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

1 John 1:5
New International Version (NIV)
Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

John 8:12
New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus, the Light of the World

12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Matthew 5:16
New King James Version (NKJV)
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.


The most recognized foods eaten during the Hanukkah holiday are Latkes!! They are potato pancakes that are fried in oil, which symbolize the oil that lasted eight days when the Maccabees purified and rededicated the holy Temple in Jerusalem. They are easy to make and are often eaten with applesauce or sour cream. Fried doughnuts are another favorite!

We have ALL heard the Dreidel Song, even if you have no clue what a dreidel is. Kids love to play, and who wouldn’t when chocolate coins (Gelt) are up for grabs 🙂

On the last night of Hanukkah Greg noticed that the Shamash candle burned out first, and all the other candles were still burning. He said that it reminded him of when Jesus went to be with the Father but left us here on earth to be the light… To carry the torch… It was very special

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT)

So you see… (for us) Jesus is easily seen in the Festival of Lights. We remember and honor Him…as the eternal light.

I love Christmas and make every effort to remember it’s true significance. Including Hanukkah is a fun meaningful way to celebrate and more importantly include Jesus in our family’s life.


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